July 7, 2016 saw Sara Watkins in concert at Largo at the Coronet for the release of her new album Young in All the Wrong Ways. It is beautiful album that shows an edgier side of Sara than we’ve seen on her previous releases. The album was produced by Punch Brothers member Gabe Witcher and supported on the recording by other musicians who have also frequented the Largo stage, including Jon Brion, Sean Watkins, Tyler Chester, Jay Bellarose, and Benmont Tench.
At the show, Sara played through the album in order and then tacked on a few favorites as a bonus at the end. Musicians rotating on and off stage for various songs included: David Garza on guitar and piano, Tyler Chester on bass and Mellotron, Mark Stepro on drums, Erica Canales and Andrea Blunt providing background vocals, and Benmont Tench on piano. Dan Wilson, who co-wrote a couple of the songs on the album, also performed as did Gabe Witcher and The Section Quartet. Sara mostly played her guitar dubbed “Pat,” as well as her fiddle. The set list included:
- “Young in All the Wrong Ways” This album title track confirms Sara is doing things a little differently this time around. Check out the official video for this song at the link.
- “The Love that Got Away” This tune is one of my personal favorites on the album.
- “One Last Time” Before starting this number Sara remarked, “It’s that time of the night where I realize I left off stage something I desperately need on stage — let me get my fiddle.” This number was co-written with Jon Foreman. Dan Wilson appeared on stage to perform.
- “Move Me” The “featured track” from the album. Check out the official video at the link.
- “Like New Year’s Day” Sara described the inspiration for this song as heading to the dessert on New Year’s Day, specifically referencing the Kingston Mountain range and Calico ghost town in her story. This was co-written with Dan Wilson.
- “Say So” Sara remarked that this was a story of trust, also performed with Dan Wilson.
- “Without a Word” The Section Quartet joined in this one. Sara switched guitars and had some issues getting plugged in and remarks, “I’ve been doing this all my life” in reference to chasing cables, and perhaps also the small mishaps and delays between songs. As long is the music sounds good, none of that other stuff matters.
- “The Truth Won’t Set Us Free” Sara wrote this one when she couldn’t get the infectious 2-step shuffle of Rodney Crowell’s songs out of her head.
- “Invisible” Sara told how when she was developing this song, she sent it to her friend, musician Glen Phillips, and received some good advice back that she should make the song more about what it is actually about, causing her to re-write the song.
- “Tenderhearted” The final song on the album was inspired by two important ladies in Sara’s life, her grandmother and a family friend named Nell, and more broadly anyone who generally has had a lot of hardship but “came through with gold coming out of them.” I’ve borrowed a part of the lyric from this song for the title of this post, “It’s the tenderhearted that let life overflow.”
- Unnamed John Hartford fiddle tune performed as a duet with Gabe Witcher
- “Long Hot Summer Days” popular singalong tune available on her self-titled album
- “From a Buick 6” (Bob Dylan cover)
- “Where Is Love Now?” (Sam Phillips cover) Pretty version performed live with the Section Quartet. The recorded version is on Nickel Creek’s album A Dotted Line.
- “You and Me” from Sara’s solo album Sun Midnight Sun.